Alfred Hitchcock is perhaps the most successful film director. Some of his films are among the greatest in film history. Hitchcock was the quintessential master of suspense. One aspect that is under-appreciated, however, is his treatment of the question of human identity. His characters always face some dilemma, whether natural or, as in The Birds
, supernatural. Often it is being falsely accused of some crime. In the process of working through the dilemma, the character's identity is usually unmade and then remade. Often, the interregnum between unmaking and remaking is marked by some form of amnesia
or trance state. In religion
it is usually referred to as a liminal state. During the course of the film, a kind of rebirth often takes place. While Hitchcock has a morbid sense of humor, and his films often portray characters caught up in some criminal enterprise, nonetheless they have an infectious optimism about the human
spirit's ability to overcome its dark side.